Through Police Holsters: Encounters with Police Misconduct, Brutality and Use of Force in Canada 1995 - 1999


A disproportionate number of homeless and mentally ill individuals, as well as members of racial and ethnic minorities, arevictims of police abuse and brutality ranging from verbal epithets to unwarranted searches to beatings and killings. - Amnesty International

Henry Masuka On December 31, 1999, he was shot to death by a police officer at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital. Masuka died of three bullet wounds. The Police were responding to allegations that he took an emergency doctor hostage with a pellet gun demanding immediate medical care for his son.

Gary Corbett and Rod Lawrence On or around December 1999 Det. Const. Gary Corbett, 41, and Det. Rod Lawrence, 43, of the Toronto Police Services were suspended with pay over allegations involving the theft of informant reward money. The two detectives facing numerous criminal and internal corruption charges are back at work under a policy that says officers should not be sitting at home collecting a paycheque, a police disciplinary hearing heard on Monday, November 13, 2000. Corbett and Lawrence were members of a squad that tracks down escapees and parole violators.

Kyle Foster On or around November 1999, Cobourg Deputy police chief Kyle Foster, 50, pleaded not guilty to the charge of driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit. He was arrested in November 1999 when he was pulled over by provincial police officer Const. Chris Watkins during a RIDE program. Watkins, 25, told court he was conducting a RIDE program by himself when he arrested Foster, a 25-year veteran of the Cobourg force. Foster was on his way home from a police board meeting and said he stopped at a bar and had three drinks, Watkins testified. Foster’s passenger was Cobourg’s police Chief John Kaye, who had also been drinking.

Jean-Pierre Lizotte Aged 45. Beaten by two police officers and café bouncer on St. Laurent Street, September 5, 1999. Subsequently died in hospital from vertebrae injuries, October 16. Police services board not notified until late November. No media report until December when Montreal councillor, Marcel Savigny asked why.

Anthany Dawson Aged 29. In 1999, Dawson was picked up by police in Victoria BC. He died in hospital two days later. An inquest is looking into the circumstances.

Tony Romagnuolo On Dec. 28, 1998, he was shot to death by a police officer outside his home in Sunderland northeast of Toronto. On or around November 6, 2000, three police constables pleaded not guilty Monday to charges stemming from this deadly Christmas-season shooting. Const. Randy Martin stood before 300 potential jurors and pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Tony Romagnuolo, 44. Romagnuolo was shot to death during a scuffle with police on the front lawn of his home in Sunderland, northeast of Toronto. One of his three sons survived a gunshot wound to the stomach.

Josh Engdahl On September 10, 1998, this Regina teen was shot and killed by police in Saskatchewan.

Ryan Scullion Aged 15. On June 1, 1998, this teen was brutally arrested, thrown to the ground and received blows and kicks to his head and body. He was released within hours of his arrest. Officers involved were Torontopolice constables Al Flis and Pietro Grande. On July 24, 2000, the police constables were found guilty of assault by Justice Greg Regis of the Ontario Court of Justice. See News Story.

Selwyn Pieters On March 2, 1998, Selwyn Pieters observed three members of the Toronto police watching him and asked that they identify themselves. At this time one of the officers identified verbally thatthey were police officers, however, upon his further verification of this claim, they failed to identify with policeidentification card and badge. When asked for police identification, one of the officers stuck his middle finger in the air andstated, "we don't have to show you I.D., we are not arresting you. A police misconduct complaint has been filed by Selwyn Pieters.

Xie Pei Yang 23 years old. Shot to death by police on April 13, 1997 at Fu Lam Seafood Restaurant, Toronto. Officers involved were Daniel Drake, 46, Timothy Burtt, 34.

Hugh George Dawson 31 years of age. Shot to death by police on March 30, 1997 at Kennedy & Danforth. Officers involved were Rick Shank, 27, Rajeev Sukurmaran, 29; six other officers present.

Edmond Yu On February 20, 1997, he was shot to death by a police officer on a TTC bus. The police were responding to reports of a man assaulting a woman on the streets. Officer involved was Louis Pasquino, a 23-year veteran.

Francis Nicholls Nicholls was shot by Ottawa-Carlton police officer Constable Bryan Dodds on January 1st, 1997.

Jeremy Foster 23 years old. On November 16, 1996, Jeremy Foster was on his way home from accompanying his girlfriend to a bus stop in a part of York Region when the police picked him up arbitrarily, thinking he might be a York Region rapist. For 10 hours Foster was aggressively interrogated. DNA testing, cleared Foster.

Van Cang Tran and Cuong Van Nguyen On November 9, 1996, Constables Lisabet Benoit and Gino Costabile had barged into the Hong Ngoc restaurant at Dundas and Ossignton, suspicious that the Trans were selling alcohol after hours. Constable Benoit pull her revolver and pointed it at Mr. Tran's head. A 911 operator had taped the events inside the restaurant after Tran called for help. That tape demonstrated Benoit had unholstered her pistol. Justice Paul Reinhardt slammed the constable's action, calling it "excessive" and saying "it is hard to justify any use of force in such a circumstance, much less the drawing and pointing of a firearm."

Faraz Suleman On June 19, 1996, after arrangements were made between Faraz's mother and the York Region police for Faraz to surrender peacefully, Faraz Suleman was shot to death by York Region Constable Bob Wich. A support group was mobilized to be supportive of the family's search for answers during the inquest.

Wayne Williams On June 11, 1996, Williams was shot several times and killed by Constables Kenneth Harrison and Gordon Hayford.

Tommy Barnet On January 10, 1996, Barnet was shot and killed by Sergeant Benedetto Troina.

Andrew Bamwell On March 21, 1996, Bamwell was shot three times in the back while fleeing police, and was killed by Constable Andy Kis.

Ralph Kirkland Ralph Kirkland, was the victim of racial profiling by the police in Ottawa-Carleton. His car was stopped and he was harassed. In January 1996, Kirkland, who had accused police of racism, was fined $90 for failing to identify himself to regional police. Dwight Drummond Dwight Drummond, an assignment editor, videographer and television personality at CityTV was taken down, at gunpoint, by police in 1995. The police alleged that they mistook the chicken sitting in Dwight's lap as a gun.

Dudley George 38 years of age. Shot and killed, Ipperwash Park, September 6 , 1995 by OPP Sgt. KennethDeane. Deane was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death. Judge Hugh Fraser ruled that Deane knew Dudley George was unarmed. A provincial inquest has still not been called and the feds claim this is not their department.

Albert Moses Moses was shot by Metropolitan Toronto Police officer Jeffrey Vance on September 29, 1994. The police officer who is responsible for the death of Albert Moses had not yet spoken to the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) as of December 1996.


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